The Baker administration of Massachusetts unveiled a solar energy development program with new rules to help the state meet its climate goals while supporting the solar industry as it deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The updated regulations, for its Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) incentive program, expand eligibility criteria for low-income solar projects, and encourage the adoption of energy storage technology.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) expanded the program’s capacity from 1,600 to 3,200 megawatts to create a stable runway for growth of solar to continue in the state.
The updated regulations expand eligibility for agricultural land and require that solar projects higher than 500 kW must be connected to an energy storage system.
Furthermore, the emergency revision includes various other provisions, including set-asides for at least 5% of available capacity in each awarded ‘Capacity Block’ to go to low-income community areas.
Low-income area projects also receive the highest compensation rates under the program. Also added were provisions to enable mid-sized and community projects of between 25 kW and 500 kW.
Incentive compensation will decrease by 2% per ‘Capacity Block’ for behind-the-meter systems and 4% per ‘Capacity Block’ for front-of-the-meter systems.